So here it is...my top 5 favorite films of 2012.
The Master- Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
I was fortunate enough to see The Master in all it's epic, 70mm glory. PTA's follow up to There Will Be Blood doesn't offer the same instant gratification fix as it's predecessor, but it's still a marvelous film in it's own right. Every shot is breathtaking, the cast (Phoenix, Hoffman, Adams) delivers the best acting performances of the year, and the soundtrack is untouchable. The Master's plot might be foggy, but the overall experience of the film is anything but.
Silver Linings Playbook- Directed by David O. Russell
A lighthearted take on the serious and often somber topic of mental health issues in America, Silver Linings Playbook was my pleasant surprise of the year. I laughed and was generally more entertained during David O. Russel's quirky romantic dramedy then I had been in ages. I'm also now sold on both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence's acting chops.
Zero Dark Thirty- Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
The hunt for Osama Bin Laden could have easily been depicted as a "glorious" pile of pro-Western propaganda. I'm glad Kathryn Bigelow took a different approach with Zero Dark Thirty. The film is cold and clinical, like it's Type A personality protagonist Maya (Jessica Chastain). The tedious and often horrific nature of the espionage/political world take center stage. The film may be dark and exhausting, but it's almost cathartic as well.
Prometheus- Directed by Ridley Scott
I don't understand the anger over Prometheus. Aside from looking absolutely gorgeous on the big screen (and I usually loathe 3D), Ridley Scott's latest film is easily the most ambitious sci-fi film in years. Was the film perfect? No. Was it entertaining and leave you craving more? For me, the answer is a definite yes! Introducing "The Engineers" and expanding the Alien mythos into a separate but equally enthralling cinematic universe was right decision. The sub-par Alien VS Predator franchise sort of killed the whole chestburster thing anyways.
End of Watch- Directed by David Ayer
David Ayer has officially come into his own as a filmmaker. He may have written the script for Training Day, but his subsequent directorial work (Harsh Times and Street Kings), although entertaining, were less than stellar. End of Watch crushes any remaining doubts I had about his directing. Ayer's latest cop drama is, gritty, fast paced, even hilarious at times, but most of all, it's one of the most heart wrenching films of the year. Jake Gyllenhaal and Micheal Pena's chemistry as gang busting LAPD officers is uncanny and is the heart of the entire film.
Some pretty rad movies I dug from 2012 that were just shy of the final cut:
NERDGASM OF A LIFETIME. The most fun I've had at the movies. EVER.
John Hawkes performance as a sexually and spiritually frustrated polio victim/quadriplegic is awe inspiring.
Absolute carnage. I haven't enjoyed such awesomely relentless violence on the big screen since the lobby shoot out in The Matrix.